Monday, April 26, 2004

Pat Tillman, RIP

I don't really care much about football and I never watch the hoopla that surrounds the NFL draft. However, I did catch a few minutes of the event on Saturday and could not help but think of Pat Tillman (1976-2004). After that, the draft just seemed more absurd.

Almost every time I watch part of a professional game (football, hockey, baseball) I hear one of the announcers talk about the courage of a player or how heroic a play is. I'm sorry, but this is a game. There is nothing heroic about those who choose to play for a living. Pat Tillman did do something heroic. He put himself in danger, and lost his life, for the rest of America. And he did it without asking for notice from the media. He is just one of many soldiers who have lost their lives protecting us -- most of whom will never get the same attention from the media.

The only things I know about Pat Tillman is what I've read about or seen on television. Here's what his former coach had to say:

Pat knew his purpose in life. He proudly walked away from a career in football to a greater calling, which was to protect and defend our country. Pat represents those who have and will make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. I am overwhelmed with a sense of sorrow, but I also feel a tremendous feeling of pride for him and his service.
-- Dave McGinnis, former Cardinals head coach

I, for one, am proud of what Pat TIllman did for me and I mourn his death.


Sunday, April 25, 2004

Gun laws

While I'm on the topic of guns, let me make a comment about gun laws. Do we really need so many? Gun laws are not stopping the criminals from getting the guns. After all, they are criminals -- by very definition they are willing to break the law. One example that comes to mind are the carry permit laws.

Tennessee has a simple carry/conceal permit process. You don't have to show a reason for wanting a carry permit, you have to go through an authorized safety course, and you have to go through a fairly extensive background check. Seems simple to me. However, each state has its own rules with regard to whether they will honor Tennessee's permit. Some states honor Tennessee's permits others do not. New York City has its own set of laws that go above and beyond what New York State requires. In Washington D.C. it is illegal for anyone to own a handgun unless they are a police officer or owned the weapon prior to 1976. Hmm, D.C. has one of the highest crime rates in the country -- much of it committed with guns. How is that possible since it is illegal to own a gun? That's right, criminals willing to break the law are in possession of handguns. And law-abiding citizens are unable to protect themselves.

It seems to me that many of the laws could be consolidated in order to make things much simpler across the nation.


At the firing range...

I had my first opportunity to fire a gun yesterday. My husband has always been eager to own a gun (or two) and I have always supported him in that. He did a four year stint in the Army and has also done some bird hunting with his uncle and grandfather. I, on the other hand, had never even held a gun until yesterday. My family never owned guns so I never had the opportunity to learn how to handle them. However, I decided that if my husband wanted to own guns then it would only be responsible for me to learn how to handle the weapons and to feel comfortable around them.

One of my husband's co-workers offered to let us borrow a couple of his handguns so that we could decide what type of guns to buy. So we all headed out to an indoor shooting range for some target practice -- and in my case an informal class on what to do.

I used a Smith & Wesson .22 revolver -- and did pretty good, if I do say so myself. The gun was heavier than I anticipated and I never got into a fully comfortable stance. Also, the noise from other shooters was more distracting than I would have liked. But I did manage to get some pretty good shots off. I even hit the bullseye at 15 yards. Of course 4 of my other shots in that series didn't even hit the target (hit the paper but not the target), but I was still rather proud of myself. I was incredibly nervous the first time I shot. By the time I finished firing the 6 rounds my hands were sweating so much I thought I would drop the gun. I became more comfortable as time went on and by the time our hour and a half was up I consistently hit the target.

I can actually say that I'm looking forward to go to the range again.


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Comprehensive Exam

I received official word today that I passed my comprehensive examination. I am now ready to graduate with my Master of Science in Information Science.

The comprehensive exam was not nearly as bad as I made it out to be in my mind. I studied by reviewing questions from previous terms and writing outlines for those questions. By the time I actually took the test (four hours of writing) I was prepared. The types of questions on the exam were not a surprise to me.

I am very relieved that this weight has been lifted off my shoulders....Now I just have to find a job.


Sunday, April 11, 2004


I have never liked Peeps -- those marshmallow critters covered with sugar. Have you ever noticed that the blue ones simply look like they have asphyxiated under the plastic wrap?

But since Peeps are commonly found in Easter baskets around the country (I would always trade my Peeps for my brother's Reese's Peanut Butter Egg) I thought I would post this tribute to Peeps in the library...

Peeps Research


September 11 Commission Hearings

Since I had a three day weekend, I spent some of my time watching the C-Span re-run of Dr. Rice's testimony. The one thing that struck me about both her testimony and the Richard Clarke's testimony is the answer both gave to the same basic question. If the Bush Administration had implemented everything that Richard Clarke says he recommended, would the attacks on the September 11, 2001 be prevented?

Both answered no.

The attacks could not have been prevented. However, steps that the United States has taken have prevented another attack from happening. We are now 2.5 years past 9/11/01 and have not had another terrorist attack on our soil. As Dr. Rice stated, the United States did not consider itself at war before 9/11 -- now we do.


Happy Easter

Today was a quiet day at my house. After church we went to my mother-in-law's for Easter dinner. Then I came into work.

The orchestra I belong to at church played during one of the services today. While I enjoy playing in the orchestra, I sometimes miss the sense of belonging that happens as a simple congregation member. Overall it was a good day.

I received a gift from my uncle that both surprised and touched me. He is my uncle by marriage and has been a part of our family for about 12 years now. He is Jewish, although he does not practice his faith. His parents were Holocaust survivors who immigrated to America in the 1950s. My uncle took a trip to Israel a few months ago because he wanted visit Jerusalem. While he was there he bought me a beautiful gold crucifix and carried it to both Calvalry and Christ's tomb. I am very touched that he thought to do this for me, even though he is not of the Christian faith. I'm glad he is part of my family.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Are they trying to lose me...

Television networks, that is. Yet another show that I enjoy has just been canceled. Century City aired on CBS for 4 episodes, yes 4, before getting the ax. The show was based in a Los Angeles law firm in 2030, was well written, and had a good cast. A cast of professional actors who can, well, act. The show was a victim of reality television. It couldn't get enough viewers to go up against American Idol.

What burns me up about this decision is that good television shows are not even given a chance to compete. The reality TV craze has taken over every single network. What is a little funny about this phenomenon is that in today's market a show like Seinfeld would not survive. Seinfeld is one of the most successful shows in TV history. It made NBC a lot of money during the initial run and is making a lot of money in syndication.

Syndication is where the realty craze is going to hurt. I just don't see a market for re-runs of reality television. I think the lack of quality television is going to come back and haunt the television industry in the future -- in the form of decreased revenue.